Occupational safety: data as a key to zero incidents in the workplace

Using data to maximise workplace safety requires expertise and dedication – a method that clearly works for the Genk division of global automotive player ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks (AMTB). “The manufacturing plant recently celebrated six years of accident-free operations”, says Iris Vanstraelen, prevention advisor at Mensura.

AMTB Genk manufactures custom parts for the automotive industry. “The company went through a major restructuring some years ago, making safety in the workplace one of their core objectives”, Iris explains. “AMTB’s new corporate culture is strongly focused on incident prevention, not only to protect the health and safety of their workers but also to eliminate absenteeism due to workplace accidents.”

Mindset of safety excellence

The safety culture at AMTB Genk incorporates mandatory training for all employees on safety and accountability. Some of the topics covered are the layout of the site and the plan for traffic flow, as well as emergency evacuation procedures. Iris: “The plant is also implementing a specific observation method called the DuPontTM STOP® programme, in which employees are encouraged to observe co-workers and speak up about any unsafe acts that may be identified.”

“All levels of staff should engage in peer-to-peer communication about unsafe acts on the workfloor. Operators should speak up when someone else – even if it is the company director – forgot to wear safety goggles or a safety hat. Likewise, there should be no issue for temp workers to remind permanent staff members about safety regulations, for instance. This isn’t about scolding anyone, but about making sure that unsafe acts are identified and corrected.”

Targeted data analysis and resulting actions

Employees record any unsafe behaviour they have observed in a database, with the focus being on unsafe acts and not on people. “The internal prevention advisor and head of production will then determine the type of action required for each specific situation”, Iris continues. “That is where I step in to do the audits. I need to make sure that the measures put in place do not create any new risks.”

“The data collected in the database and the corresponding measures are updated on a weekly basis. AMTB then analyses emerging trends and processes the information on a topic-by-topic basis to reveal any issues that require immediate attention.”

Feedback to employees

The internal prevention advisor at AMTB Genk will discuss these findings with the various team leaders during a safety huddle. These team leaders will then further discuss this with their production team. “Regular feedback is extremely important in keeping this culture of safety observation alive among the workforce”, Iris explains. “Employees really appreciate it and find it encouraging to see that their observations lead to actions. And by providing feedback, everyone stays alert and up to date.”

Having achieved 2,200 accident-free days, AMTB Genk has shown that the approach works. “The company is leading by example: they maximise workplace safety through lessons learned from near-misses and through proactive solutions.”

Make workplace safety a priority in your organisation

The team at Mensura are ready to help you develop an effective safety policy and a corporate culture focused on occupational safety and incident prevention. To find out more, contact us on +32 2 549 71 00.